12 Most Tantalizing Ways Traditional Marketing Powers Social Media

12 Most Tantalizing Ways Traditional Marketing Powers Social Media

We all know that social media is not a strategy. You do know that, right? Good. In any case, it should certainly not replace other marketing tactics but work in conjunction with them. It is not an either/or situation.

A lot of talk these days is about what social can do for traditional, but the reverse is true as well. In fact, traditional offline marketing plays very nicely with online. So why don’t we stop trying to separate them like two rivaling siblings who are constantly at each other’s throats, and let them have some fun…

Here are 12 reasons why traditional goes together so well with social:

1. Drives traffic to your social media presence

When people aren’t online they are offline and that is how they will find you. Be there. These days, the sale will often happen online so digital gets the credit, but it was print that brought the customer there.

2. Makes your social media program relevant

Your social program should fit into your overall integrated marketing strategy. Soon, your marketing efforts will be robust, not flimsy (which is a terrible message to be sending, by the way).

3. Links offline to online

QR codes create a direct link between print and your online social campaign. It brings tech to old media which in turn brings more eyeballs to online media.

4. Reaches more people

Surround your market with all the tactics at your disposal. Not everyone lives in the social space — an integrated approach makes everything work together so those you miss in one place you catch in another. Don’t leave any cards on the table.

5. Spreads out risk

Don’t put all your marketing eggs in one basket. Even the best laid plans are not 100% certain. In finance, this concept is called dollar cost averaging — works here too.

6. Makes your social campaign more credible

Say what you want, but studies show that people still trust print more than other types of communications. We are dubious of the ephemeral nature of online media. But… if you drive people to social through print, that will be a lot more credible.

7. Informs the design and branding strategy

A well-executed, cohesive design strategy and branding program is born out of the marketing strategy which is often first established offline. It is then extended through traditional ad campaigns, direct marketing, and various other offline tactics before social is brought into the mix.

8. Gives your business more substance

If you only do social, the message projected is that you are flighty — here today, gone tomorrow. People will also think you don’t understand business and that perhaps, just perhaps, you drank a little too much of that Kool-Aid from a couple of years ago.

9. Helps establish a budget

Unfortunately, social media tends to get what’s left over. In the current economic climate, this is usually not too much. Throw in the popular misconception that social is low cost (or worse, free!), and not much is left for social media at the end of the day. So accept reality — overall marketing spend will be allocated to traditional marketing first, but this will still ultimately define the resources that go towards social and that’s a good thing. Nail that down and get going — like anything, it is impossible to plan unless you know what you’re dealing with.

10. Covers your bases

Even the most ardent proponents of social media get tired, burned out and don’t always spend so much time online. Make sure they continue to see your brand presence.

11. Gives social something to talk about

There is lots of chit chat in social (surprise, surprise). That exhibit, PR event, and/or in-store promotion gives plenty of fodder to talk about later in social.

12. Provides a reason to follow up

Moving the door-opening, preliminary online relationship to offline is where real stuff gets done. After meeting a new prospective client online, you can follow up with an email, a brochure or some other offline communication. Even better, you may setup a face-to-face meeting and you can provide other materials in person, further solidifying your relationship. Do this successfully, and you will be well on your way to increased conversion rates.

So you see, marketing is really just one big, happy family. Over time, I am sure we will stop distinguishing between the two, because even though TV came along there was still a place for radio.

Use all the tactics available, be smart, put it all together and be where your customers are. There’s no need for a bitter divide between separate camps. Can’t we all just get along?

I would love to hear what you think — and why does so much of the social media conversation dismiss all that has come before?

Featured image courtesy of creepyhalloweenimages licensed via Creative Commons.

Article by Paul Biedermann

Paul Biedermann


Paul Biedermann is Creative Director/Owner of re:DESIGN and Managing Partner/Editor-in-Chief of 12 Most. re:DESIGN specializes in Strategic Design, Brand Identity, and Visual Content Marketing. Paul intersects smart, custom design with visual business strategies that reach, engage, and inspire people to action. He also founded the vibrant re:DESIGN Google+ community for those who value what good design can do for business, and served on the Board of Directors of the Social Media Association. Paul began his career at ABC Broadcasting before moving to a design agency that created innovative campaigns for ESPN and then becoming Art Director for NFL Properties. As Creative Director for The McGraw-Hill Companies, Paul spearheaded projects for such leading brands as Standard & Poor’s, BusinessWeek, J.D. Power and Associates, Architectural Record, and McGraw-Hill Education. You can follow Paul on Twitter, "Like" re:DESIGN on Facebook, circle him on Google+, follow him on Pinterest or visit his blog.

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Social Media marketing is something that works wonders. Your 4th point of reaching more people is absolutely true and the response like Likes, shares, tweets, comments will also be more. But the real response of sign up or purchase is indeed less than 7%.  Social media marketing can be one of the effective ways to market your product.


I like how you express it in #4, Paul - Surround your market with all the tactics at your disposal. I also like how you point out the age-old adage in #5 - Don’t put all your marketing eggs in one basket.


Of course, some baskets are bigger than others, and then it comes down the most cost-effective means to establish reach. Then I think social has a large advantage...


I really agree with a lot of what you had to share here. Social Media is still not very understood or appreciated by those who you've used traditional media to bring awareness and consumers to their brands. They don't even know if they should even spend the time or the money. Still lots to educate folks on both ways.


My only critic...and it is minor one...would be the image you posted with article. I'm a very visual person. I feel like that doesn't properly represent this post.


Thanks again for a great post Paul! I always love reading your blogs. I just don't always have a chance to comment.

Amy Peveto
Amy Peveto

I think the idea of integrating traditional and social marketing is great — if it's done *right*. The best example is the QR code. Most people don't know what it is, and even those who do use them are often disappointed because the code takes them to a homepage that has nothing to do with the ad or offer they saw in a commercial/on a poster/etc.


And since a lot of companies still aren't on the content bandwagon, there's often no real calls to action to lead people from traditional to social. Yes, Wheat Thins puts their Facebook icon/link on commercials, but there's no CTA. Why should I go there? What kind of conversations am I supposed to have? What's in it for me?


It seems to me that a lot of businesses haven't wrapped their minds around social media yet; so how are we going to convince them to spend money on traditional advertising that sends prospects to a social media site that's under-utilized and full of sales pitches?


Ahem. Mini-rant aside, I really like this article. It's a great way to show people that it's poor strategy to lean on just traditional or just social. There needs to be an interdependence, a way to get every member of your audience you can to visit your site and interact and become a fan and a customer. Thanks for sharing these! 

Francisco Navarro
Francisco Navarro

Hi Paul, Thanks for responding and your input. I do appreciate it. Your right, they're are tactics that support and blend with a developing and supporting strategy. I also am glad you raise a key view, there needs to multiple paths to reaching and engaging with customers. 


Being in technology for many years I've seen this before where we transition and peak at the hype stage, where everyone's jumping in the pool. Which is the problem. I've been contacted by affiliate marketers saying you need to sell social media. So I'll play and say, but I don't know anything about marketing, developing a plan, analyzing an industries etc., I'll get, "no worries, social media does it all, just set up a facebook page for them and you'll make money".  


Here's an idea I'd suggest writing about for your followers. I've read an argument that traditional media is dead. They're reasoning is that companies such as Coke, Ford, Target, etc., are shifting millions of dollars from traditional to social media. Maybe exploring this topic further? especially since comparing a powerful brand such as Coke with a small company isn't realistic.  


Looking forward to future blog's.Take care,Francisco  


THANK YOU Paul!  It's about time Social Media champions admit that it hasn't eliminated the need for good, old fashioned advertising.  The smart ones get it.  Social Media is a tactic. Print advertising is a tactic. And is certain markets you will be missing wide swaths of your audience if you are only using New Media.

Francisco Navarro
Francisco Navarro

Hi Paul, I enjoyed reading your viewpoints.


The only area  where I'm not with you 100% is that social media isn't a strategy. This is why...Strategy, or the use of the word is overused and most often misunderstood.  I've been an owner, a consultant, marketer, and in business development for many years. To define my term of strategy, is the requirement for a company to set apart a unique plan that adds value to clients, and profits to the bottom line. How? By using the same supply chain as others in the industry, but better; or by deliberately using  a set of unique resources/supply chain that is not used within or by the industry that delivers value to a specific group.  Many parts of the supply chain is in the background, but at some point the value of a companies efforts has to be communicated to a means that is effective, memorable, and that resonates in a way that fits with that specific group. Think of Harley, Apple, Southwest, New Balance, etc., 


Back to my point about Social Media not being a strategy. The #1 goal of any company, small to enterprise, is to find and keep profitable customers. Done by capturing a fare percentage of profits from the value that an industry creates. And every aspect of a business must follow that mission. Social Media isn't any different. To say it isn't a strategy can be dangerous and misleading.


Consider this: A McCormick study followed over 20,000 consumers in 5 industries over 3 continents. What they found during the customers decision journey four main categories or steps: Consider, Evaluate Buy  and Enjoy, advocate and bond stage. For example 60% of consumers conducted online research AFTER purchasing the product. That later went onto read reviews, engage with brands and advocating or hating the product. A stage missed by many--especially if not part of the supply chain strategy. 


I agree, social media isn't always a strategy. But it isn't always"not strategy" either.  

Resources, time, tools, and efforts are to simple find and keep profitable clients.  If a company does not have a seamless system and clear understanding of what to communicate, then a companies marketing and communication looks like a ransom letter. Clients will be confused. The message will be lost. And revenues will suffer. Proof within the McKensy finding are they're as well. 


My message has come out longer than intended--my apologize. I hear many companies selling social media tools. For one, "gain more customers now". OK. But can they're business handle more business? IF the company has low customer retention rates, why? Getting more clients won't matter if they don't keep them. Or use Social Media to tell jokes and get more followers. OK, why? If a company sells health care products to those over 60, and the jokes attract those in they're teens and twenties, is that effective? I suggest to my clients that Social Media is a communication platform with incredible power to engage with clients, but to still ask why are you using it? what end results are they looking for? 


This is why is suggest that stating ideas definitives  and or statements, to suggest that every companies situation is different. Every organization must make decision based on what meets their retention and profit goals.  Every company must view they're entire supply chain and ask "how will this action provide value to my clients and meet our goals". 





 @PaulBiedermann Very good point here Paul.  In answer to your question about social media dismissing traditional.  Many of the 'nouveau" social media experts have little traditional media experience, or are trying to learn as they go.  Without a solid traditional marketing background, social media campaigns can sometimes fall short.  


Great important suggestions to keep in mind for a total marketing picture. I do have evidence in my company that all clients last year came directly from my online newsletter only. My online newsletter members is limited to  my neighborhood area, for now. It will be interesting to see the new power of social media combined with my traditional marketing plan that began in September 2011. Will I see growth? Will they over lap? What will be the ratio of clients from online newsletter only and Social Media Marketing? Will they merge ad become one? Great post Paul..

PaulBiedermann moderator

 @Amy Peveto You raise a lot of great points and thank you for your comments.


Yes, a lot of companies still don’t get it but it’s still early. If they start doing social media right, they will see the important role that traditional media can play in getting people to interact there. If their social media is a snore, then there won’t be much interest in that but then I would also guess that most of their other communications are probably not doing what they should either.


Getting it all working together like a finely-tuned orchestra is the holy grail of today’s marketing, hopefully leading to not only more customers but multitudes of brand advocates. Those who do get it are seeing huge benefits.

PaulBiedermann moderator

 @Francisco Navarro Thanks for your comments. I agree that social media can be an important part of a strategy and it may even be the sole tactic employed, but in and of itself it is no more a strategy than any other type of marketing. They are tactics. 


This does not in any way mean to diminish the importance of social media. In fact, I think perhaps we are having a little misunderstanding about how the word “strategy” itself is defined. The strategy comes out of the more comprehensive marketing plan which you touched on in parts of your comments, no argument there, and social can be a powerful means for how to execute that strategy. But saying that social media is itself a strategy is like saying a direct mail campaign is a strategy. It’s not.